Our customer, one of the largest CLEC providers and a mobile carrier in North America was looking for a management platform for its existing and future M2M terrestrial connections. Furthermore, the company has invested in a satellite communications company that is working towards establishing an in-space telecommunications network for space-borne assets.
This infrastructure will resolve the problem of intermittent connectivity for non-geostationary satellites, will open new business opportunities that necessitate real-time connectivity to satellites, and will reduce reliance on costly and difficult to deploy ground infrastructure.
In order to fulfill network services to the served equipment the company employs an architecture similar to a 3GPP LTE network, meaning an HSS / UPSF node is used to store subscriber information and to perform authentication and authorization functions. A master HSS node exists on a ground station and the information it contains is replicated to a lightweight HSS node residing on the satellite’s hardware – enabling them to perform the required functions without line of sight to the ground station.
Simfony developed the software modules which facilitates the integration between the platform and the customer’s fulfilment systems (HSS/HLR, PGW/GGSN, Billing and Mediation). Integration was related to the management of the subscription lifecycle (activation, suspension, cancellation), display of the subscriptions’ statuses and the management of other capabilities exposed by the fulfilment system (e.g. Quality of Service, Presence). All new features are available through the platform’s API and through the specific Node-RED device management node.
The IoT platform contains facilities for receiving data in various formats from external sources. Interfacing with these sources is usually performed by provisioning a Node-RED instance which then in turn exposes input nodes for a variety of protocols. Because the temporary nature of the Satellite IP Network the MQTT protocol is best suited to be used. The MQTT protocol implements a Publish-and-Subscribe paradigm which is enabled by a message broker. The IoT platform uses the Apache ActiveMQ product to perform client authentication and authorization, message storage and message delivery. Data received can be processed by the Node-RED flow in order to interact with other, external, systems or to store it in the MongoDB database. The databases are managed by the platform and can also be accessed through the MongoDB proprietary API.
The stored data structure is periodically analyzed by map-reduce processes which allow the IoT Platform to present to the user an intuitive interface for generating reports and visualizations.
The platform contains functionalities designed to serve GSM / GPRS networks in a machine to machine communications context. Features such as geo-location, SMS messaging, data capping can be used based on the presence of the appropriate fulfilment node. The IoT Platform exposes a predefined set of APIs which can call (i.e. for provisioning and service lifecycle) or be called (i.e. for network notifications or incoming events) by the relevant fulfilment systems. The customer needed to make available the features for the platform to use.
A branding kit defining the configurable assets in respect to visual identity and graphical user interfaces was provided to the Licensee. Assets such as logos, background images, fonts and colors are part of this branding kit.
Installation and configuration were performed for all relevant applications and modules on the Licensee’s infrastructure by Simfony personnel via remote access.
Monitoring Application and operating system monitoring is performed by a monitoring agent present on every machine and the custom verification scripts and reported to a centralized monitoring system which enables notifications and alarms.